The once near-universal brand of American Christianity is being associated with an ever-shrinking size of the American public. ...you may wake up one day and find that the overwhelming majority of the public has simply tuned out everything you have to say..... the window of opportunity where people might be willing to consider a more relevant form of modern Christianity is closing.Case in point: What we've heard lately from American "Christians". Such as Pastor Charles Worley
"Build a great big large fence 50 or 100 miles long," Worley said in a video..It's not the first time. Here's what he said 30 years ago:
"Put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing with the queers and the homosexuals. Have that fence electrified so they can't get out. You know what, in a few years, they'll die out. You know why? They can't reproduce."
"Forty years ago [LGBT people] would've hung, bless God, from a white oak tree!"Pastor Sean Harris
....Harris told parents they are “authorized,” and that he was “giving them a special dispensation” to attack their children. “Give them a good punch,” and “crack that wrist,” Harris told parents, if their four-year old boy, for example, “starts acting a little ‘girlish’.”Pastor Ron Baity
....Baity, founding pastor of Winston-Salem's Berean Baptist Church and head of the anti-marriage equality organization Return America, referred to homosexuality as "a perverted lifestyle" in a Sunday sermon before telling his congregation that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people should be prosecutedThen there's Pastor Curtis Knapp
“They should be put to death,” Knapp declared. “‘Oh, so you’re saying we should go out and start killing them, no?’ — I’m saying the government should. They won’t, but they should.”Pastor Dennis Leatherman at least stopped short of death, though he kinda likes the idea:
“[God] said put them to death,” he continued. “Shall the church drag them in? No, I’m not say that. The church has not been given the power of the sort; the government has. But the government ought to [kill them]. You got a better idea? A better idea than God?”
First of all, there is a danger of reacting in the flesh, of responding not in a scriptural, spiritual way, but in a fleshly way. Kill them all. Right? I will be very honest with you. My flesh kind of likes that idea. But it grieves the Holy Spirit. It violates Scripture. It is wrong.Even the Baptists are trying to distance themselves from the hatred expressed by some of their number .
But over and over again, THIS is the voice of modern American Christianity: the one that calls for me to be forcibly separated from my wife, imprisoned, hurt, "cured", or murdered.
And so you know what I would like to hear? I would like to hear sensible faith leaders come together and make a ROBUST DISAVOWAL of this, loudly. An acknowledgement of differences, but a common belief that all life is, well, sacred. Not the easy to ignore anemic press release, but an ecumenical statement with full page ads in the major press.
You know, something like,
We as faith leaders may disagree on the scriptural and doctrinal responses to homosexuality, but we come together to state that there is never any justification to call for violence or death to gay people who are still beloved children of God.
Won't happen, of course. The Roman Catholic bishops and the Mormons and the evangelicals will continue their activism against the LGBT community part of which relies on demonizing lies.
So as the Episocopal church continues to debate "mission" and justify its big New York City national center, just maybe it should consider speaking out strongly against the demonization of LGBT people, under a forceful national voice. Or come together with like-minded denominations to do so.
Because, as our troll comments periodically, no one seems to know what you are thinking.
Otherwise, just what are they doing in that New York office?
If it isn't scandal, why would the press cover it anyhow? We might see it on MSNBC, HuffPost and other lib news and blogs but how would the people who need to see it be made aware?
N.Y. Times columnist Charles Blow noted that there's a backlash developing against this kind of religious hatred -- Down With Religion?.
"A March poll by the Pew Research Center, released at the end of a particularly fanatical Republican nominating process during which religious extremism took center stage, recorded a bit of a backlash against religion.
"It found for the first time that more people thought that there has been too much expression of religious faith by political leaders.
"In fact, the poll found that most Americans (51 percent) believe that religious conservatives have too much control over the Republican Party. That was a record high. By comparison, a plurality (49 percent) said they don’t believe that secular liberals have too much control over the Democratic Party. That too was a record high."
After noting these kinds of sermons, he said:
"Moderates and independents are turned off by this kind of bigotry and vitriol. This level of hate keeps religious extremism fresh in the minds of voters even if it's not on the lips of candidates. In the end, it is likely to drag down the Republican brand more than lift it.
"The people who want to take their country back might first want to start by taking their religion back."
The federal First Circuit Court of Appeals became the first federal appellate court to find the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconsitutional in a ruling this morning, according to an L.A. Times story that can be read here.
PseudoPiskie, the press covers the statements of hate, they should cover response and churches should DEMAND they cover the response.
Primrose, a recent study suggests that fewer than 50% of americans are Christian adherents. This kind of thing is why.
I think these folks are so round the bend because they know that they've already lost this fight. The homophobe cause will die with them. There will be no next generation of respectable homophobia. The homophobes are on their way to isolated mountain compounds and the social margins.
That doesn't mean that they can't do a whole lot of damage in the meantime. I fear that this verbal violence could easily turn into physical violence of the worst sort (that may already be happening with a sharp spike in anti-gay violence last year).
If the Episcopal Church wants to have some real credibility (along with their Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian partners), then the General Convention, the leadership, and the pew-sitters need to come out forcefully against this madness, or see themselves unjustly consigned to irrelevance and oblivion with the haters.
Maybe it's time to sell the big HQ on First Avenue, or lease it out as luxury condos and use the money constructively.
Any resolution-drafters out there that want to bring this to the General Convention?
Let me know.
Tommy Dillon from Facebook --
A check for $400 is being sent to Integrity USA for their work at the General Convention from a special collection at St Aidan's in San Francisco on Pentecost in Honor Pastor Charles L Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, NC who recently told his congregation that his solution to dealing with lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender people were to send them camps surrounded by electrified fencing to die. The entire congregation sent him a card filled with messages of prayers and love!
Most of the staff at 815 is out on the road most of the time doing the jobs they were hired to do -- Christian Education, Ethnic ministry support, etc. or working very hard to do the jobs that support churches and their work. I am sad that we are victimizing faithful employees in our anger. Yes - the PB can make a statement - but really General Convention is a body that can do this. The PB has made public statements and is in the press frequently affirming the church's full inclusion. The press just loves the haters - they evoke much more "hits" than the lovers.
I don't think anyone considers that the Main Office folk are lazy and I don't think a call to action is "victimizing" them. But a press release from General Convention will be months in the making and ignored by the time it comes out because the issue will have blown over.
A national office implies a national church. Surely someone can speak out forcefully. It would be even more effective if it came from leaders of multiple denomination.
The problem is that everyone is too damn polite to the haters. The haters have no such compunction.
The problem is that everyone is too damn polite to the haters.
That is forever an issue with liberals, to nice and polite for our own good most of the time. Just watch the liberal concern trolls that usually come running whenever anyone, but especially me or JCF, is a little prickly with someone's shit at the Lead.
Deart JCF and David -- you have no idea of how many people we block from commenting from conservative side of things. Sorry if you don't like our policy.
Mainline Protestantism is middle-class, middle-aged and middle-brow (or upper middle brow of you're Episcopal or Unitarian); you've been used to being treated seriously since forever that you've forgotten how to actually come out and say what you want.
Saying that people who call for others' death based on what they do in the bedroom are totally crazy is an obvious thing to do, but you're deluding yourselves if you think it'll have much effect on your numbers or relevance.
Which doesn't mean you shouldn't do it-some statements should be made so that you don't get attacked for being insane.
Not perhaps all you want but Otis Moss at Trinity United Church of Christ
[@Ann: I've rarely ever complained about EC/The Lead's moderation. Different story w/ Thinking Anglicans: not only can one not even SUGGEST a CofE bishop might not be straight, but one cannot mention the POLICY of TA's banning of all posts that suggest/infer/indicate a CofE bishop isn't straight. Nor, even if you give an email address, will they contact you to tell you've been moderated, and why. I'm sorry, but that's cowardice. :-( ]
Has anyone noticed that a corner has been turned re the mainstream media, and hate-speech pastors? It used to be just gay sites that covered these. Now, it's going from gay websites TO the MSM...and then public reaction (like local stations covering). I think this is a SIGNIFICANT change. Progress! You can't hide, haters!
Ann, read it again, my comment was not about you or the other editors at the Lead or your policies.
I agree with JCF, that these sermons are going viral on the internet and being picked up by the corporate media is very significant. There's nothing new about these sermons, except the tone of angry desperation. What is new is the attention that they are now receiving.
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